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Automobile Accidents Are Common in California, and They Are Usually Not Easy to Deal With

Every year tens of thousands of California and Los Angeles vehicle drivers are involved in automobile accidents resulting in injuries to themselves or others. A high percentage of these accidents result in personal injuries.

Traffic Accidents in Los Angeles and Orange County are the most common types of personal injury cases. Cases involving personal injury resulting from accidents are litigated under the principles of negligence unless the state has determined to do away with fault as an issue. The injured plaintiff is required to prove that someone was negligent, that the negligence caused the accident, and that the accident caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In some cases, your gut feeling may tell you that the other driver, cyclist, or pedestrian acted carelessly, but not what rules they violated.

Types of Automobile Accident Injuries

Side-impact injuries

A side-impact injury occurs as a result of another vehicle barreling into you from the side. It is the deadliest form of automobile accidents leaving 10,000 persons to die each year. In a head-on collision, you are protected by several feet of steel, engine, and bumper. A side-impact accident leaves only a few inches of a door and some window glass between you and the other vehicle.

Every vehicle on the road is required to pass the government implemented side-impact standards. Many people feel these standards are outdated. The government tests have been criticized for failing to test head standards in all vehicles. It uses a dummy representing an average size male that doesn’t register head injuries, and its test only looks at what happens when similar size vehicles collide.

Passenger Injuries

If you were a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident, and if you have sustained injury as a result, you are entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. As a passenger, you have a claim against both the driver of the vehicle in which you were riding as well as the drivers of any other vehicles (or any other negligent party) involved in the collision. As a passenger, you generally cannot be considered to be at fault or partially at fault for causing an accident unless you do something to cause the accident such as distract the driver.

Paraplegia

Paraplegia is a type of paralysis which affects both the legs and the trunk. Persons affected by paraplegia have no movement in their legs, and are often limited or have no movement in their torso. Paraplegia results from spinal cord injury. Many accident victims are paraplegic as a result of unsafe or defective vehicles.

Paraplegia interrupts sensory messages to the brain so that the affected individual cannot “feel” their affected body parts, and are generally insensitive to pain or heat. As a result, a victim’s health and safety are jeopardized because of this inability to differentiate pain. Some victims have damaged nerves resulting in phantom pain and heat sensations. Paraplegia significantly impacts the patient’s quality of life by affecting sexual drive, digestive capabilities, bladder control, and shortened life expectancy.

Automobile accidents have often caused the major trauma that results in paraplegia. Vehicles such as SUV’s are prone to roll over and do not have adequate roof structure. As a result, the roof crushes and caves in causing spinal cord injuries. Fortunately, there are steps to be taken to reduce such injuries including paraplegia. There are steps that auto manufacturers should take to ensure that vehicles are safe and have the best airbags, seat belts to prevent ejection, sound vehicle design, and roof stability

Spinal Injuries

Although the spinal cord is only 18 inches long and is made up of tiny, delicate nerve cells, a spinal cord injury (SCI) can be a traumatic and devastating injury resulting in a lifetime of pain, suffering and huge medical expenses.

An SCI typically involves some type of trauma to the nerve cells that form the spinal cord. As the spinal cord carries messages from the brain to various parts of the body to control functions such as movement, breathing, speaking, and other critical body functions, an injury to the spinal cord disrupts this communication, leading to the impairment of the body’s sensory, motor, and involuntary reflex functions. Depending upon the nature and extent of the SCI, these disruptions can lead to two devastating conditions: paraplegia (paralysis of the lower portions of the body) or quadriplegia (paralysis of the upper and lower parts of the body).

The principal causes of SCI are automobile accidents, acts of violence, sports-related injuries, injuries at work, and other incidents that cause injury or compression to the nerve cells of the spinal cord. Approximately 250,000 Americans currently suffer from some form of SCI, and there are about 11,000 new cases annually.

The costs related to SCI can be staggering. More than half of all spinal cord injuries result in quadriplegia, resulting in an average hospital stay of 95 days and approximately $140,000 in medical expenses. For individuals who sustain SCI at the age of 25, the average lifetime medical costs for quadriplegia is $1.35 million. And these figure does not take into account the physical and emotional suffering of the victims, the loss of wages and other income, and the financial and emotional burdens that SCI places on the victims’ caregivers, who are more often than not close family members of the victim.

Brain Injuries

Most often brain injuries are caused by serious vehicle accidents, drastic falls, bus or train accidents, amongst other severe accidents. Every 15 seconds someone suffers a brain injury. The impact of a brain injury on someone’s life can be devastating, but a brain injury attorney can help lessen the strain the brain injury has caused by recovering damages the brain injury patient is entitled to. Of all the injuries that an individual can suffer, brain-related injuries are among the most frightening and the most deadly.

There are several different types of traumatic injuries that can damage the brain. A skull fracture occurs when the bone of the skull cracks or breaks. A depressed skull fracture occurs when pieces of the broken skull press into the tissue of the brain. This can cause bruising of the brain tissue, called a contusion. A contusion can also occur in response to shaking of the brain within the confines of the skull. Damage to a major blood vessel within the head can cause a hematoma or heavy bleeding into or around the brain.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury, commonly referred to as TBI is sudden physical damage to the brain. The damage may be caused by the head forcefully hitting an object, such as hitting the wheel, window or dashboard of an automobile(closed head injury) or by something passing through the skull and piercing the brain, such as a bullet or a knife (penetrating head injury). A closed head injury can also be experienced when the brain undergoes severe shaking or twisting, such as whiplash.

The common symptoms among adults are:

  • Low-grade headaches or neck pain that won’t go away
  • Having more trouble than usual with mental tasks (e.g., remembering, concentrating, making decisions)
  • Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading
  • Getting lost or easily confused
  • Feeling tired all the time, lacking energy or motivation
  • Changes in sleeping patterns (sleeping a lot more or having a hard time sleeping)
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy, losing your balance
  • Increased sensitivity to sounds, light, or distractions
  • Blurred vision, eyes that tire easily
  • Loss of the sense of smell or taste
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Mood changes (e.g., feeling sad or angry for no reason)

Among children, the symptoms are:

  • Listlessness or tiring easily
  • Irritability or crankiness
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Changes in the way the child plays
  • Changes in performance at school
  • Lack of interest in favorite toys or activities
  • Loss of new skills, such as toilet training
  • Loss of balance, unsteady walking

Brain injuries can result from a number of different causes, with the leading causes being motor vehicle crashes, slips, and falls, sports-related injuries strokes, anoxia, tumors, viral infections, degenerative diseases, near drowning, and other conditions not involving external force. Approximately 1 million Americans are treated and released from hospital emergency rooms each year as a result of TBI, and an estimated 5.3 million Americans are living today with some form of TBI-related disability.

I was a passenger involved in an automobile accident and I suffered injuries, can I get recovery for my personal-injury damages?

If you have suffered a personal injury you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. In all automobile accident cases, it is essential that steps be taken immediately to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries. It is important for your attorney to understand the possibility of these injuries and not overlook them as a poorly timed or crafted settlement can leave you liable for thousands of dollars in medical bills. Therefore, is important to choose an experienced personal injury attorney in pursuing a claim to recover for your personal injuries.

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